Music Program Benefit

As class begins, Professor David Goodman asks for volunteers to perform. With a piano on stage, it would seem as if his students consisted of pianists. Not soon after the first volunteer, it's obvious that this music course is like no other.
The musicians in Goodman's Music 94 class range all the way between jazz and classical performers. It's easy to find anyone from a violinist to a vocalist sitting in the class. And every time the class meets, it's anyone's guess as to who will perform that day.
Just as the class is a mixture of talent, so too will be the Applied Music Benefit Concert, which will present a harp player, a violist, a guitarist, a pianist and seven other musicians. The 11 performers in total were selected by their peers to represent the class at the concert on Sunday, May 6.
In the past, the concert was used to fund the program; this year, however, the money will benefit scholarships awarded to students in the Applied Music Program.
"It will be a great concert because we have such a variety of performances," Goodman said.
Yuki Okabe, a flautist performing in the concert, said she wants a lot of people to go to the concert to see all the different performances, even those "who don't know music."
She said the program is one of the best ever and it has given her a great opportunity to improve her skills with the help of her peers. She said she credits her improvement to the compliments and advice her classmates offer her. Unlike many other music courses, the class as well as the instructor, gives the students feedback after they perform.
"The feedback helps me see where I need to improve," said William Sims, a jazz pianist who will also perform in collaboration with jazz vocalist Crystal Knighton.
The Applied Music Program started four years ago in the effort to provide students with hands-on mentoring. Students in the program receive individual instructions - something that, according to Goodman, is not usual for a community college. The program strives to prepare students for a four-year university.
For this reason, students interested in joining the program can do so by auditioning and showing that they're at a level equivalent to that at a four-year college. This will ensure that once they transfer, they will be better prepared to deal with pressure and cope with the competition, said Goodman.
The program, which requires that students practice five hours per week, participate in one private lesson with a private instructor as well as be involved in other music classes, has a "fairly low drop-out rate," Goodman said.
He said he credits the success of the program and the success of the individuals to the "nurturing and supportive environment" and said it's far from being competitive or intimidating even when stage fright takes over.
The program benefits each student greatly by providing them with amazing opportunities, said Stephanie Jacques, a jazz vocalist. "It's given me the opportunity to sing with the Jazz Trio and with the John Mayer band," she said.
SMC Applied Music Program Benefit Concert, Sunday, May 6, 8 p.m., Concert Hall, Main Campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405. For information, call (310) 434-4323 or (310) 434-3000. Admission is $10.